A Painting Returns Home | God's World News
A Painting Returns Home
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Posted: October 23, 2023
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    Landscape of Italian Character by Johann Franz Nepomuk Lauterer (AP/Claire Savage)
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    FBI Special Agent David White, left, and Bernd Ebert sign documents returning the painting on October 19, 2023, in Chicago, Illinois. (AP/Claire Savage)
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An American soldier in Germany during World War II took a painting. It didn’t belong to him. He carried it home. The painting stayed in the United States for years. Now it is going back where it belongs.

Art Recovery International is a company that finds and returns stolen and looted art. Last year, a person in Chicago, Illinois, contacted the company. That person had an artwork that an uncle brought back after serving in World War II.

It turned out to be a painting missing since 1945. The piece is called Landscape of Italian Character. It shows a countryside in Italy. Johann Franz Nepomuk Lauterer painted the landscape. He lived in the early 1700s.

Christopher Marinello is the founder of Art Recovery International. Most of the company’s work involves finding and returning art looted years ago by Nazis. “On occasion, we come across cases, such as this, where Allied soldiers may have taken objects home as souvenirs,” he says. But that was stealing. “Being on the winning side doesn’t make it right,” he adds.

God gave the Israelites instructions about what a person who steals should do. That person should give back what he took, plus a little extra. (Leviticus 6:1-7) Taking what belongs to someone else is serious to God.

The painting is part of a set of two. Now they will be reunited. The two paintings show travelers and herders with goats, cows, donkeys, and sheep at a river.

The pair will soon be together for the first time since World War II. Want to see them? You’ll have to go to the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, Germany.

Bernd Ebert works at that museum. Retrieving a long-lost painting is rare. “It’s exciting,” Mr. Ebert says.

Mr. Ebert flew from Munich to Chicago to get the picture. He carefully bubble-wrapped it. He carried it in his suitcase. Once it’s home, workers will clean the piece. The artwork needs some care after its long trip abroad.